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widely and unfavorably known; disreputable; infamous: a notorious bank robber
Not to be confused with:
notable – prominent, important, or distinguished; famous; great; eminent: a notable philanthropist
noted – well-known; celebrated: a noted musician


Known widely and usually unfavorably: a notorious pirate; a region notorious for floods.

[From Medieval Latin nōtōrius, well-known, from Latin nōtus, known, past participle of nōscere, to get to know; see gnō- in Indo-European roots.]

no·to′ri·ous·ly adv.
no·to′ri·ous·ness n.
Usage Note: Although notorious and notoriety have been used in negative, positive, and neutral contexts since the 1500s, over the years, notorious (and to a lesser extent notoriety) has come to be used primarily in negative contexts, often with a connotation of wickedness or undesirability. In our 2011 survey, 81 percent of the Usage Panel accepted the sentence The region is notorious for its seismic disturbances, whereas only 26 percent accepted a sentence that used notorious in a situation where the circumstances for fame are positive: She is notorious for her excellent standup comedy routines. The Panel is somewhat more willing to accept notoriety in a positive context: almost half (45 percent) approved of the sentence His success on college campuses brought him enough notoriety to release a greatest hits CD.


1. well-known for some bad or unfavourable quality, deed, etc; infamous
2. rare generally known or widely acknowledged
[C16: from Medieval Latin notōrius well-known, from nōtus known, from noscere to know]
notoriety, noˈtoriousness n
noˈtoriously adv


(noʊˈtɔr i əs, -ˈtoʊr-, nə-)

1. widely and unfavorably known: a notorious thief.
2. publicly or generally known: a notorious scandal.
[1540–50; < Medieval Latin nōtōrius evident = Latin nō(scere) to get to know (see notify) + -tōrius -tory1]
no•to′ri•ous•ly, adv.
no•to′ri•ous•ness, n.
syn: See famous.


1. 'famous'

If someone or something is famous, very many people know about them.

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a famous writer?
...the world's most famous picture.
2. 'well-known'

Well-known has a similar meaning to famous. However, a well-known person or thing is usually known to fewer people or in a smaller area than a famous one.

...a club run by Paul Ross, a well-known Lakeland climber.
...his two well-known books on modern art.

Well-known can be spelled with or without a hyphen. You usually spell it with a hyphen in front of a noun and without a hyphen after a verb.

I took him to a well-known doctor in Harley Street.
The building became very well known.
3. 'notorious'

Someone or something that is notorious is well known for something that is bad or undesirable.

The area was notorious for murders.
...his notorious arrogance.
4. 'infamous'

People and things are described as infamous when they are well known because they are connected with wicked or cruel behaviour.

...the infamous serial killer known as 'the Boston Strangler'.
...the infamous shower scene from Psycho.


See Usage entry at famous.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.notorious - known widely and usually unfavorably; "a notorious gangster"; "the tenderloin district was notorious for vice"; "the infamous Benedict Arnold";
disreputable - lacking respectability in character or behavior or appearance


adjective infamous, disreputable, opprobrious one of Britain's most notorious serial killers


1. Known widely and unfavorably:
2. Widely known and discussed:
مَشْهور بِسوء السُّمْعَه
nechvalně známý
alræmdur, illræmdur
bloga reputacijanepalankiai
bēdīgi slavens
smutne preslávený
adı çıkmışkötü şöhretli


[nəʊˈtɔːrɪəs] ADJ [criminal] → muy conocido, celebérrimo; [area, town, prison] → de mala fama, de mala reputación; [comment, speech] → desgraciadamente famoso; [case, crime] → muy sonado
a notorious womanizerun hombre con fama de donjuán
she's a notorious flirttiene fama de que le gusta flirtear
Prussia was notorious in this respectPrusia tenía mala fama en este sentido
to be notorious as sthtener fama de ser algo
to be notorious for sthser conocido por algo, tener fama de algo
he's notorious for cheating at cardstiene fama de hacer trampas jugando a las cartas


[nəʊˈtɔːriəs] adj [case, murder, crime] → célèbre; [murderer, killer] → célèbre; [womaniser] → notoire
to be notorious for sth → être réputé(e) pour qch, être célèbre pour qch
to be notorious for doing sth → être réputé(e) pour faire qch, être connu(e) pour faire qch


adj person, factberüchtigt; place alsoverrufen, verschrieen; (= well-known) gambler, criminal, liarnotorisch; a notorious womaneine Frau von schlechtem Ruf; to be notorious for/as somethingfür/als etw berüchtigt sein; it is a notorious fact that …es ist leider nur allzu bekannt, dass …


[nəʊˈtɔːrɪəs] adj (thief, criminal, prison) → famigerato/a; (liar) → ben noto/a; (place, crime) → tristemente famoso/a
a town notorious for its fog → una città tristamente famosa per la nebbia


(nəˈtoːriəs) adjective
well-known for badness or wickedness. a notorious murderer.
notoriety (noutəˈraiəti) noun
noˈtoriously adverb
References in classic literature ?
Anecdotes of the Crow Indians.- Notorious Horse Stealers.- Some Account of Rose.- A Desperado of the Frontier.
(if it was an accident), his gruesome pamphlet became notorious. On the day of its publication a wretched dog, flayed and otherwise mutilated, escaped from Moreau's house.
Jean Roussel was but another of the many names under which the notorious Ballmeyer, a fugitive from France, tried to hide himself.
Her neglect of her husband, her encouragement of other men, her extravagance and dissipation, were so gross and notorious that no one could be ignorant of them at the time, nor can now have forgotten them.
Another voice, from a man of medium height with clear blue eyes, particularly striking among all these drunken voices by its sober ring, cried from the window: "Come here; part the bets!" This was Dolokhov, an officer of the Semenov regiment, a notorious gambler and duelist, who was living with Anatole.
He was in the clutches of the most notorious of cut-throats--a hater of all Europeans, especially those who wore the uniform of Belgium.
His mother had been in her youth a brilliant society woman, who had had during her married life, and still more afterwards, many love affairs notorious in the whole fashionable world.
High times, indeed, if unprincipled young rakes like him are to be permitted to invade the sanctity of domestic bliss; though do what the Bashaw will, he cannot keep the most notorious Lothario out of his bed; for, alas!
Thus lightly was the notorious (and at the same time mysterious) Monsieur George brought into the world; out of the contact of two minds which did not give a single thought to his flesh and blood.
And upon the same principle there are laws which forbid men to sell their property, as among the Locrians, unless they can prove that some notorious misfortuue has befallen them.
There, as is notorious, he spent the last years of his life; and there I came across persons who were familiar with him.
He then formally declared war against Pedro Lopez, the leader of the slave-drivers, enrolled a band of runaway slaves in his service, armed them, and conducted a campaign, which ended by his killing with his own hands the notorious half-breed and breaking down the system which he represented.